October 18, 2010
Doctors usually diagnose Alzheimer's disease through a combination of medical and cognitive tests along with a brain scan. New studies, even one involving family members and friends, offer the promise of making the diagnosis easier -- and maybe even earlier. An August study in the Archives of Neurology used biomarkers to correctly classify patients who had Alzheimer's disease. The study tested normal people without the disease, those with mild brain impairments and those with the disease.
September 29, 1985
I was very much impressed by the letter of Jess Money, "Alcoholism is the Result of a Conscious Decision." It has long been a fad to treat various human failings as "diseases," usually also considered hereditary and incurable. For that reason, those attending various "anonymous" rehabilitation groups follow a ritual of announcing, for example, "My name is John Smith and I'm an alcoholic." Since the person attending has, by his attendance, already taken at least one step toward his rehabilitation, I suggest a closer approach to reality by having those attending say, "My name is John Smith and I'm learning self-discipline."
May 17, 2011 |
Television crime shows have helped popularize autopsies, but in reality these postmortem exams are becoming rarer every year. Today, hospitals perform autopsies on only about 5 percent of patients who die, down from roughly 50 percent in the 1960s. That's unfortunate, say experts, because details about the cause of death can be illuminating for both families and hospitals, even if they don't turn up an undiagnosed ailment or other new information about the cause of death. Kristine Johnson's father, Nathan Johnson, developed early-onset Alzheimer's disease and died last August, five years after having received that diagnosis at age 52. He worked as a lineman for a power company near the family home in Waterford, Conn., and had on occasion been injured by powerful jolts of electricity, says Kristine, who is 36. She hoped that an autopsy would provide some answers, possibly related to injuries he sustained on the job, about why he developed Alzheimer's at such an early age. (Most people who develop Alzheimer's do so after age 65; only about 5 percent of cases are early-onset.)
November 3, 2010 |
Children with the disease tuberous sclerosis can have tumors in various body organs including the brain, eyes, heart, kidney, skin and lungs. The condition is incurable, and treatment often relies on surgery to remove the tumors. But a medication already approved to treat kidney cancer has shown remarkable success in shrinking tumors in children with the disease, researchers said Wednesday. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine , researchers described their success with the drug everolimus, which is sold under the brand name Afinitor.
February 10, 2012 |
Cyclist Anthony Zahn of Riverside, winner of a bronze medal in the individual time trial road event at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, is accustomed to racing the clock. But he's also engaged in a bigger and unwinnable race, a battle he's facing with humor and courage. Zahn, 37, has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a hereditary disorder that affects the nerves in the arms and legs and leads to loss of sensation and atrophied muscles. It has no cure and Zahn said Friday there are correlations between high-intensity activity — such as cycling — and an acceleration of the disease.
April 13, 2011 |
In the world of “promising” multiple sclerosis drugs, it’s been quite a week. Two more experimental drugs -- both in pill form, not injected -- are joining the race of new treatments to slow the disease. A study of multiple sclerosis patients who took the drug laquinimod over two years had 23% fewer relapses -- an attack of new symptoms or worsening of old ones -- compared with patients who took a sugar pill. The group that received the drug also had a 36% reduction in disability progression and a 33% reduction in brain atrophy.
June 18, 2013 |
The American Medical Assn. voted Tuesday to declare obesity a disease, a move that effectively defines 78 million American adults and 12 million children as having a medical condition requiring treatment. The nation's leading physicians organization took the vote after debating whether the action would do more to help affected patients get useful treatment or would further stigmatize a condition with many causes and few easy fixes. In the end, members of the AMA's House of Delegates rejected cautionary advice from their own experts and extended the new status to a condition that affects more than one-third of adults and 17% of children in the United States.
April 7, 2010 |
Standing amid hundreds of African oil palms, their gray and desiccated fronds drooping to the ground, Edgar Barrera shakes his head and speaks of their death sentence. "What we have is a technological disaster, an economic disaster and a social disaster," said Barrera, superintendent of the Bucarelia company's 12,000-acre African palm grove. Barrera is referring to a mysterious, fast-spreading and deadly disease called "PC" that has devastated African palm plantations here in the Magdalena River valley area 200 miles north of Bogota, the capital, and elsewhere in Colombia.
March 15, 2013 |
For seniors and their families, Alzheimer's disease and its hefty price tag are an increasingly scary prospect. About 5.4 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer's disease, making it the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Because of growing life expectancies and aging baby boomers, that number is expected to triple by 2050. Alayna Tillman's mother and aunt both have Alzheimer's disease and live with Tillman, her husband and two sons in Lake View Terrace. Tillman says Medicare pays for many of the medical costs her mom and aunt incur.